16th April 2014

Uncontrollable Grace

Eighth of a Series 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godnot by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) 

Thankfully our daughter Lydia recovered fairly well after her fight to survive a severe respiratory infection.  There were still scary moments, including one where her blood oxygen level fell to 28%, but the specialist unit she had been moved to was much better equipped to deal with this situation.  Three days after we arrived they began reducing Lydia’s sedation, and the following morning we were delighted to find her awake and disconnected from the ventilator.  Soon she was well enough to move to a normal children’s ward, and although she remained on a low dose of oxygen she was able to transfer back to our local hospital after about a week. 

Having seen God’s wonderful love and grace in action saving Lydia’s life, I learnt a powerful lesson: God’s grace is not in our control.  In our modern world we like to think we are in control, we choose what we eat or wear or watch on TV.  We decide how to spend our leisure time.  Even in our work we may have some degree of choice.  So we don’t always feel comfortable with things we can’t control.  And we tend to struggle with accepting God’s grace for what it truly is, a totally unmerited free gift. 

God chose to save Lydia’s life that night but He didn’t have to.  I believe He heard all our prayers, but we can’t force God to do anything.  It was His decision, in His perfect love.  I suppose if we were very rich we might have been able to pay for better or faster treatment – a helicopter perhaps, but at the end of the day whether Lydia’s tiny body could fight through the virus was entirely out of our control.  Sadly there are many babies who don’t make it.  God’s grace is not in our control, and yet humanly we start to reason that we can somehow influence it.  If I can just please God a bit more, be a bit more righteous, behave a bit better, sin a bit less, then He’ll save me.  But it isn’t true.  Grace cannot be earnt.  It doesn’t depend on our performance.  In fact, our righteousness is like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6).  But it doesn’t matter because Jesus died for us centuries before we were even born.  There’s no way we can retrospectively influence that.  As it says in Ephesians 2:4-5, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” 

This doesn’t mean the way we live our lives isn’t important, but it’s a response to grace, not a way of obtaining it.  As verse 10 shows, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 

Let’s thank God for the incredible grace He gives us so freely. 

Father in heaven, thank you so much for your amazing grace.  Please help us to remember that it is not something we can earn or influence or control, but is entirely a free gift from you through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Study by Simon Williams

*You can read previous episodes of this study by going to the archive button on the website www.daybyday.org.uk and finding the dates 6, 13, 20 & 27 November 2013.  This series resumed on 26 March ,2 & 9 April 2014 continuing weekly.  The studies will appear on 23 April, with the concluding study on 30 April 2014.


Lydia Williams 3 for 2014-04-16About the Author:
Simon Williams is active in the Cambridge Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Cambridge
Comberton Village Hall
Green End
CB23 7DY

Meeting time:
Saturday 2:00 pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Bill Lee
Email:  cambridge@wcg.org.uk

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One Response to “16th April 2014”

  1. Ian Woodley on April 20th, 2014 11:56 am

    Hello Simon
    Your series of articles has been a powerful reflection on the salvation and grace of our wonderful God. Thank you for taking the time to pass on your thoughts – I feel enriched from having read them.
    God Bless

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